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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

May 24, 2009 at 11:56 AM

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Sasquatch! post #10: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Posted by Andrew Matson

The Main Stage amphitheatre was packed for Yeah Yeah Yeahs last night, as it was earlier for Animal Collective. The headliner was Kings of Leon, but Yeah Yeah Yeahs played during sunset, and sunset at the Gorge is a wonder of the world. It was the best music I saw all day, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs held the crowd like no other band.

For dress and stage panache, Karen O is one of the most expressive performers I have ever seen. Just look at her exalt this huge floating eyeball:

sasq5 003.jpg

She wore a neon muumuu, which fit like a swimsuit at her hips, and lime tights from there on down. Spinning dervish-style and pumping appendages in warrior poses, she often had a wide, cracked smile.

The singing was also a great success...Ms. O managed her whisper-yelp range expertly.

Guitarist Nick Zinner hung over his instrument like a small ghost. What a versatile player. During slow, powerful "Skeletons" (one of the best songs on new album "It's Blitz!") he played through a keyboard. The effect was a slithery, bagpipe-y sound ringing through the Gorge. Very epic. Slashing and crunching through "Gold Lion" like a total force of nature, he never sounded out of control or sloppy or loud for the sake of being loud. (I got that whole song on video and then deleted it on accident. So mad at myself.)

Watching the show (my first Yeah Yeah Yeahs experience), being blown away by the music, noticing how closely familiar the hordes were with every lyric to every song, I thought, "This band might be the best super popular band that actually matters, like, artistically, since Nirvana."

I had the thought during "Maps" when the crowd sang along to its "they don't love you like I love you" lyric. Thousands of people sounded like they were all telling the truth.

Here's the video, which includes at least one Karen O "Gorge-eous" groaner:

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